Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In a purple vision Many thousand years ago

Remains of whelk-processing
workshop, Inishkea coast
Irish dyers in the early mediaeval period knew how to make red / purple fabric using dog whelks, competing with the murex-purple fabric imported through the trade routes from Constantinople. Carole Biggam suspects that their Anglo-Saxon contemporaries across the water in England had the same technology, but the archeological evidence is absent. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions prestigious purple clothes (which Bǣda describes as "Fabulosa!!" and "the must-have colour for 687"), but samples have not survived, making it hard to determine whether they were locally sourced or imported.*

Fuligin, the colour that is blacker than black, is obtained by processing the Sarmatic Cone-shell with avern juice. As any fule kno, the Sarmatic Cone -- an cacogen species brought to Urth through the mirrors of Father Inire -- is a voracious carnivore with lightning-fast reflexes and a venomous, razor-edged radula that can disembowel an unskilled hunter outright or paralyse him for the shell to devour at leisure in its lair. Cone hunters expect remuneration for their risk, so fuligin is expensive.

At Riddled Enterprises we believe we can extract a reasonably-priced substitute from the carnivorous Powelliphanta augusta flax snail. Unaccountably, the Department of Conservation were all "Blah blah blah endangered species blah blah" and turned down our business plan. We may have to go over their heads to Type 1.**

Tetrachromium is the colour out of space, the ultramundane colour that the savants at Miskatonic University were unable to locate on any terrestrial spectrum. Currently it can only be extracted from the leprous disintegrating flesh of livestock that has fed on the unnatural vegetation of the star-blasted Gardner farm and has drunk the tainted water from the Arkham reservoir.

Again, any affordable local substitute looks like being mollusc-based.

* There is a manuscript fragment in which King Æthylene the Impressionable of Mercia consults his economists. They advise him against promoting the local industry -- whether directly through subsidies and research grants, or indirectly through tariffs on the Byzantine imports -- which would distort the market and unlevel the playing field. It sounds better in Old English alliterative verse.

** "Diabetes Type 1" is the nickname for Gerry Brownlee among the NZ press corps. His chief assistant -- a fellow of comparable body type -- is known as "Type II".

17 comments:

merc said...

Somewhere in Wellington, on a desk, a little red light just went off.

andwoo, OK I will.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

No fair changing the title to a different lyric.

I shan't be back, if I wasn't already shantbebacking.

Substance McGravitas said...

Currently it can only be extracted from the leprous disintegrating flesh of livestock that has fed on the unnatural vegetation of the star-blasted Gardner farm

SCAM.

Smut Clyde said...

No fair changing the title to a different lyric.

Um, realised belatedly that I'd already used "colour of frozen meat".
"Harvest Moon" had the right feel but none of the lyrics work in isolation.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

S.C. when I run into this problem, I fine that a solution such as titling the post "colour of frozen meat ii" or some such does the trick nicely.
~

ckc (not kc) said...

...King Æthylene the Impressionable

...I'm a big fan of the later King Æthanol the Unsteady

Smut Clyde said...

when I run into this problem, I find that a solution such as BANNING THE BASTRIDGES such does the trick nicely.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Yeah, I've used titles more than once.

But since nobody cares about my stupid blog, I don't give a shit either.

I thought you guys had standards though.

Emily Litella said...

I thought everyone had two titties.

vacuumslayer said...

Dear Madam or Sir,

When I read this blog entry, I expected to see at least one novelty teapot. There was not one. This makes you a dirty fucking liar.

Hatingly Yours,

vacuumslayer

vacuumslayer said...

But since nobody cares about my stupid blog,

This is not true, zrm. I care very much about your stupid blog.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Somewhere in Wellington, on a desk, a little red light just went off.

The red colour can, no doubt, be attributed to some transmundane horror, but the blog proprietors are coy about it. I suspect a Xibalban influence. Where's a colour vision researcher when you need one?

As far as the Tyrian murex-purple emulated by the whelk processors, one theory holds that the prehistoric Levantine potentates came to prize it because it reminded them of their long-extinct beetle-browed concubines.

A bravura performance... and sure "Bastard Bait" from opening sentence to final footnote.

Smut Clyde said...

In an ideal world, "The Colour out of Space" would have been co-authored by Flann O'Brien.

"The card was not red," he said at last doubtfully.
"Green?"
"Not green. No."
"Then what colour?"
"It was not one of the colours a man carries inside his head like nothing he ever looked at with his eyes. It was... different. MacCruiskeen says it is not blue either and I believe him, a blue card would never make a man batty because what is blue is natural."
[...]
He passed a hand in consternation across his brow. "It would be a very unnatural pancake," he added.

Jennifer said...

I thought you guys had standards though.

Since when?

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

In an ideal world, "The Colour out of Space" would have been co-authored by Flann O'Brien.

I think The Third Brain Cylinder would have been a hell of a story.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I think The Third Brain Cylinder would have been a hell of a story.

start writing, you slacker.

lawnguylander said...

Fuligin, the colour that is blacker than black, is obtained by processing the Sarmatic Cone-shell with avern juice.

The processing you describe is beyond my capabilities but such a substance would be useful for my experiments. Have you a can of such darkness that you'd be willing to sell?